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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

4 Ways I'll be Increasing in 2023

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In his lifetime, famed 18th-century American revivalist Jonathan Edwards made 70 guidelines that steered all of his decisions. He later renamed these goals his "Resolutions" and committed to reading through them each and every day. 


While not a direct quote, his first two guidelines can be summed up as follow: 

Resolved: I will live for God. If no one else does, I still will. 

As I enter 2023 and prayerfully consider how I might set my days, I've been thinking a lot about this quote.

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To be honest, resolutions always seem to be failures masked as good intentions. They're so rigid and outcome-based and rarely make it past February, at least in my life anyway. But guidelines tend to stick. The idea of guidelines reminds me of Proverbs 22:3 which reads, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” Setting a guideline or a goal is a way of hiding myself--of seeing the potential trouble ahead and planning for it instead of just allowing life to happen and reaping the consequences.

4 Ways I'll be Increasing in 2023

As is my habit, I've been looking to Luke 2:52 as I approach January 1st.

"And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man."

With those four areas in mind, I've come up with a few goals for 2023 that reflect that same pattern of growth--ones that will help me, like Edwards, resolve to live for God even if no one else does. 

Here are four ways I'll be increasing in 2023. 

sourdough bagels

In Wisdom

This past fall, I was gifted a batch of sourdough starter. This wasn't the first time someone shared their mother culture with me. I've had three different starters over the years. But until now, I've never really been able to keep up with the demands of fermented foods. Caring for my starters always felt like a part-time job.

Artisan bread and sandwich loaves were more my speed. Or so I thought.

Recently, however, I stumbled upon @farmhouseonboone on Instagram. Her uncomplicated approach to sourdough is inspiring. I downloaded her free "Farmhouse Favorites Sourdough Recipes" eGuide, watched her Homemade Sourdough Bagel video, listened to her Sourdough FAQs podcast episode, read through this list of troubleshooting tips when my boule started to get too sticky, and committed to nurturing my starter. 

I've since made at least one sourdough recipe each week. Family favorites have been as follows: 

In 2023, I want to practice and improve my sourdough skills by baking at least one type of loaf/pastry a week. As my results improve, I hope to gift edible gifts to my neighbors from time to time. After asking online for suggestions and reading through the reviews of several sourdough recipe books, I've landed on Artisan Sourdough Made Simple to help me learn insider secrets.

birthday dount

In Stature

Last January and into part of February, one of my sisters and I read through and completed The 40-Day Sugar Fast together. At the end of the month, we both had more energy, fit more comfortably in our clothes, and experienced more mental clarity to face our days. She decided to continue on with the fast and ended up losing 40 pounds in these past 12 months. Like a victim of dietary Stockholm Syndrome, I returned to my abuser, naively assuming sugar would treat me better this time. 

It didn't.

So, starting this January, I will be breaking up with sugar for the next twelve months...or more accurately, I will not be eating "intentional" sugar. This means that I'll continue to eat foods with traces of sugar like pasta and bread, but I will abstain from foods like desserts, pastries, and sweet tea--anything that is sugar-saturated on purpose. 

That said, I've always taken each of my kids on a donut date for their birthdays and will continue to honor them by honoring this tradition. Additionally, I host a once-a-month book club at my house at which I usually serve a dessert. While I could easily pass the platter without partaking, I know how weird I felt doing that last year during my 40-day sugar fast. My refrain brought awkwardness to our gathering and in some ways drew unnecessary attention to my fasting which is quite antithetical to the point of a fast. So, I'm not quite sure if I'll opt out completely or just enjoy a sliver-sized portion. Stay tuned...

My Utmost for His Highest

Favor with God

In a recent conversation on the Mom to Mom Podcast, I confessed to never having read one of Kate's most favorite books, My Utmost for His Highest. I was gifted a copy as a wedding present over 20 years ago and have since owned two or three others. But, I've never once cracked any of them open. This will be the year, though. By the end of 2023, I hope to check it off my TBR list. 

I'll also continue to listen to one book of the Bible a week using the YouVersion app, a habit I began forming sometime this past year when my pastors launched a one-book-of-the-Bible-each-week preaching series. They took a pause for the summer and also during Advent, consequently so did I. But since they hope to return to the plan in January, I will too. The Sunday sermons highlight certain sections of each book in order to show how Jesus is the thread that weaves all of Scripture together.

Monogrammed book stamp

Favor with Mankind

It's helpful that my biggest goal of the year comes with a firm finish line and a team of folks overseeing all my efforts like it's their job. (To be clear, it is their job.) By January 2024, the first draft of my third book is due to my editor. I'm quite a bit behind my tentative writing timeline, so I'm hoping that by sharing my goal publicly, I'll feel an acceptable level of social pressure to keep my fingers to the keys and write. 

Speaking of books, I hope to finish stamping all of the ones in my home library with my monogram stamp and catalog them in the My Library app so that I can more easily loan out titles to my family, friends, and neighbors. So far, I've logged 721 books. Three shelves done, four more to go!

And last but certainly not least, I want to see people—to slow down in my daily interactions with strangers so that I look them in the eye, call them by their name, and show genuine care for them. The barista making my latte, the teenager bagging my groceries, the librarian checking out my stack of books—they are not stereotypes, they are image bearers. Their wallets are full of pictures. Their minds are full of memories. Their hearts of full of both hurts and hallelujahs that have become lenses through which they see the world. In the coming twelve months, I want to become a regular—a face they see often, a smile they can count on. I want to ask them their stories. I want to linger just a bit longer to reflect the love of Christ.

43 year old me

Final thoughts


Whether I complete all the goals I've set or not, it is my prayer that like Jonathan Edwards, I will be resolved to live for God this year. I look forward to His continual increase in my life and head into 2023 waiting expectantly for it. 

21 comments:

  1. Beautiful thank you for sharing

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    1. Thanks so much for reading! Happy New Year to you.

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  2. This was beautiful Jaime. Both inspiring and challenging! I wish you the best in your growth this year, may He receive all the glory!

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  3. I appreciate your encouragement and sharing! I, too, have done the 40 Day Sugar Fast, and last year did the 40 Day Social Media Fast. Both were life giving. I just may pull out the Sugar Fast again. My two-word purpose is Cultivate Growth. This certainly fits that! Happy New Year!

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    1. Yes, it sure does. Wishing you much growth in 2023!

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  4. That was inspiring and real, loved it. Thank you!

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  5. Love this!! Such good reminders for me! Prayerful Growth is my phrase for the new year. So many times I study the Bible but prayer becomes last on my plate. I’m beginning the year with a kids Bible study on prayer. Looking forward to what God is going to do this year!
    May you do all you do for the glory of God!

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    1. Yes, I think we all could use more concentrated times of prayer throughout our days. It's so often used as a last resort or a white flag of surrender. Instead, it should be our first GO TO.

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  6. Reading this was so encouraging! I too, just started a sourdough starter and am enjoying farmhouse on Boone. And last year I completed the 40 day sugar fast and I plan to do it again this year - possibly to give up sugar longer as I did an extended 40 day sugar fast this fall ending a few days before Christmas. I also, have a list of books I’m planning to read and one of them being the Bible. I’m ashamed to admit that I have never read the Bible cover to cover. I’ve been a Christian for 30 years now. This year will be different! And while I’m not writing a book, I am feeling a nudge to reach out to my community because ever since covid I’ve been tempted to hide at home. blessings to you this next year!!!

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    1. No shame when it comes to Bible reading. One great mantra to follow for the year as you feel compelled to grow in different areas (especially Bible reading) is "start where you are." Don't worry about where others are or where you think you should be at by now. Just start where you are right now and commit to forward motion, however fast or slow that may be.

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  7. I love this! It's so challenging and encouraging to live for God this upcoming year and what that looks like! I also would like to do a sourdough starter...I was also thinking it would be good to host dinner for our neighbors once every month or every 6 weeks if we can. Just try to reach out. Thank you for sharing your heart!

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    1. Do it! Our world needs more open doors for folks to come in and meet Jesus. I'm cheering you on!

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  8. Hi! Is it possible to listen to or follow along with your preacher for reading the Bible?

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    1. Sure. You can follow along each Sunday here>>https://rockhillcc.org/sermons/

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  9. Thank you so much for this inspiration Jamie!

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  10. I would enjoy having a link to the sermons from your church. The “book a week” and sermons that highlight how Jesus is woven all through sounds amazing. Would you consider sharing?

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    1. You can follow along each Sunday here>>https://rockhillcc.org/sermons/

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